On with the show, this is it.
After 26 more NFL teams got their 2018 seasons under way Sunday, it's time tonight for the last two games of Week 1. And that means overture, curtains, lights for the beginning of the Jets' new season at Detroit tonight (7:10 p.m. ET kickoff) and the beginning of Sam Darnold's Jets and NFL career.
"I know that just because I got named the starter doesn't mean that we won the game Monday night," Darnold said during the past week. "It' s awesome and I'm really happy to be the starting quarterback but I also know that I've got to go out there and do my job."
At 21 years, 97 days, Darnold becomes the youngest opening day starting QB in the NFL's Super Bowl era and the youngest starting QB for any game in franchise history. He and Mark Sanchez in 2009 are the only first-round QBs to start as rookies on opening day.
Darnold, the third pick of the April draft named by head coach Todd Bowles on Labor Day as the Jets' opening-night starter, knows he's got a lot on his shoulders, but he's handling it the maturity that teammates, fans and reports have noticed since he arrived. And as Bowles reminded, "It's a team going up there, so I don't worry about the confidence of the quarterback. I worry about the confidence of the team."
Among other newcomers to the starting lineup will be C Spencer Long, who joins four returning starters on the O-line and will be snapping the ball to Darnold and providing run blocking and pass rush protection up the middle. Former Browns RB Isaiah Crowell is listed as the first-stringer, but eighth-year Jets RB Bilal Powell will continue to see plenty of reps and touches.
At WR, Robby Anderson won't have his fellow free agent wideout Jermaine Kearse in the lineup tonight due to injury, but he will be running with WRs Quincy Enunwa, playing in his first game since the end of the 2016 season due to last summer's neck injury, and Terrelle Pryor, a big, talented target for Darnold.
On defense, third-round rookie Nathan Shepherd is in line to start on the D-line with vets Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon. Avery Williamson has stepped in without a hitch for the departed Demario Davis at MLB. Big-ticket CB Trumaine Johnson joins CB Mo Claiborne, S Jamal Adams (but no Marcus Maye also due to injury) and a secondary that is billing itself as "New Jack City."
Seven Jets are listed as inactive tonight:
- WR Jermaine Kearse
- CB Derrick Jones
- S Marcus Maye
- OL Ben Braden
- G Dakota Dozier
- DL Folorunso Fatukasi
- LB Josh Martin
Kearse (abdomen) and Maye (foot) were listed as doubtful for the game on Saturday's injury report while Martin (concussion) was listed as out.
The referee for the game is Bill Vinovich, who is refereeing his ninth Jets game since 2004, including the 2006 playoff game at New England and the 2015 home win over Miami.
One uniform wrinkle to report: The Jets will add one more white accessory to their white jerseys and white pants — white facemasks, which they've only worn twice in the previous two seasons, on Thursday night at Buffalo in '16 and against Jacksonville at home last year.